What is a Natural, Organic Mattress?
Although there are many variations and definitions of an organic mattress, they are all based on the same set of ideas: the mattress is compiled of organic raw materials, is processed organically and doesn’t contain harsh or harmful chemicals. Depending on the price, availability and required certifications, a mattress is considered natural if it complies with some (or all) of the above-mentioned criteria to a certain extent.
Today we will explore the relatively new niche of organic mattresses and pinpoint all the benefits of a natural, eco-friendly mattress.
Why Choose a Natural, Organic Mattress?
In today’s day and age, it comes as no surprise that the words “organic” and “natural” are becoming buzzwords in the mattress space. Natural and organic products are everywhere – food, beverages, cosmetics, etc. While many people already understand the benefits of naturally produced and processed foods and skincare products, they are severely underestimating the importance of these criteria in the sleep environment.
On average, we spend at least 1/3 of our lives in bed, which puts a healthy, chemical-free sleeping environment on par in importance with food and beauty products. The connection between harmful chemicals and mattresses was brought to light in the 1970s when new laws forced manufacturers to address deaths caused by smoldering cigarettes, which were the leading cause of lethal mattress fires. This is when chemical flame retardants started being used in mattresses.
For the next couple of decades, this was sufficient, but in 2006 a new law was put into place. It required mattresses to not simply be flame resistant but also withstand the open flame of a match, lighter or candle. To comply with the law, manufacturers had no choice but to increase the usage of the flame retardants in mattresses, which meant including even more, and stronger, chemicals.
Today’s flame retardants are extremely potent, aggressive chemicals that can have lasting effects on the body, with the most dangerous of them being polybrominated diphenyl ethers (a.k.a. PBDEs). PBDEs are scientifically proven to be linked to reduced sperm count, thyroid gland issues, slow brain development in newborns and even cancers in some cases.
This is the prime reason why organic mattresses started to gain popularity and why many manufacturers strive to adapt their manufacturing processes to fit industry standards. (More on those later.)
How Do Organic Mattresses Combat Fire Without Chemicals?
Today, most manufacturers create fabric barriers around the interior core of their mattresses, which is the most flammable part of the product. The most common enclosure method is achieved with the help of silicon-dioxide, which automatically melts to extinguish flames in case of a fire. While silicon-dioxide is a chemical compound, it’s commonly found in nature and is considered harmless.
As an alternative to silicon-dioxide, some manufacturers make use of thistle and wool to combat fire naturally, but usually those mattresses come with a higher price point.
What Makes a Mattress Truly Organic?
Generally, organic mattresses can be divided into four categories:
- Up to 25% organic
- 25-50% organic
- 50-95% organic
- 95%+ organic
In order to label a mattress organic to a certain extent, besides containing natural fire combating ingredients and being free of harmful chemicals, manufacturers are required to make sure that raw materials are natural. They also need to make sure the manufacturing process is as eco-friendly as possible. When either some or all of these criteria are met, the mattress is awarded the organic label.
It’s important to understand that the term “organic” doesn’t apply the same way in all instances. When you see the word organic on a mattress, it doesn’t necessarily mean that it’s 100% natural. To give you an idea, some labels will read “made with organic cotton”, but this only refers to the growth techniques and processing of cotton. This means that other ingredients used in making the mattress can still be artificial and processed using harsh, potentially harmful chemicals.
To put it simply, the mattress must be tested by an USDA-approved third-party, certified representative and earn a special certification to be considered organic. There are a number of certifications that a mattress can earn, which vary based on criteria like not containing harmful chemicals, using organic raw materials, having a natural manufacturing process, etc. Generally, all of these certifications ensure that a sizable amount of raw materials are organic-based, and the manufacturing process is also environmentally non-toxic, to a given extent.
Organic Mattress Certifications
Here are the most important qualifications for organic mattresses. When shopping for a new mattress, make sure that it has at least one of the following certifications:
- CertiPUR-US applies to the polyurethane foam in a mattress. This certification prohibits the use of certain chemical compounds present in many foams, mainly PBDEs, requires testing for formaldehyde and a number of other chemicals.
- Greenguard tests a finished mattress for specific emission limits of formaldehyde and a number of other volatile chemical compounds that are linked to ozone, smog, respiratory illnesses, and memory impairment. Greenguard Gold is technically the same certification but with even tighter emission limits of the above-mentioned volatile compounds.
- Organic Content Standard 100 refers to the percentage of used, certified-organic materials instead of addressing flame retardants, volatile chemical compounds, dyes or colorants.
- Oeko-Tex Standard 100 is technically a combination of CertiPUS-US and Greengard. It sets tight emission limits for harmful, volatile chemicals and also bans the use of certain chemical retardants, colorants, dyes and allergens that can cause severe harm to your health.
- Global Organic Textile Standard (GOTS) ensures that at least 95% of the included materials are organic-certified and bans the use of certain chemical compounds like chemical flame retardants and polyurethane (the main ingredient of memory foams in many mattresses) in the other 5%.
- Global Organic Latex Standard (GOLS) ensures that mattresses containing latex utilize at least 95% organic latex. There are also a number of restrictions placed on the remaining 5% of ingredients concerning flame retardants and other chemicals. A latex mattress may have both GOTS and GOLS labels.
Our Top Mattress Choice – Happsy
Happsy mattresses combine organic cotton, organic latex and organic wool to create an eco-friendly product and deliver the ultimate sleeping experience. All of the raw materials are grown without harmful pesticides or GMOs; the manufacturing process is in strict compliance with organic standards; and the mattress is free from any chemical flame retardants, chemical processing techniques or synthetic flame barriers.
Equipped with a layer of individually pocketed springs, Happsy delivers excellent support and contouring. Unlike firm pieces of foam, pocketed springs are designed in a way to cradle pretty much anything you put on them (regardless of size and weight) while reducing motion transfer drastically. The coils are also highly breathable, which aids the cooling aspect of the product, and perimeter coils are zoned firmer, allowing for exceptional edge support.
The cooling system is mainly a result of organic wool, which is used to create a micro-climate inside the mattress to help regulate humidity and temperature – keeping you warm during winter and cool during summer. The mechanism is further supported by a two-inch tall organic latex layer, with carved-in air channels keeping the heat away.
One of the most notable aspects of Happsy mattresses is their competitive pricing. Generally, one would expect to pay around $2000-2500 for a fully organic mattress, but with Happsy, you can get a queen-sized, fully natural and eco-friendly mattress for $1199. Not only that, but the vendor also offers monthly payment plans starting at $106/month and a 120-night free trial. The price includes 10-year warranty and free shipping and returns in the U.S. In addition, the mattress has a number of certifications, the most notable ones being GOTS, GOLS, and Greenguard.
Natural products make a big impact on our families’ lives and health, and the sleeping environment isn’t an exception. In fact, it is even more important than most people think! Many studies have proven the links between unhealthy sleep and stress, reduced productivity and various diseases.
Organic mattresses are an excellent way to truly allow your body to relax and restore itself while avoiding harmful chemicals. It shouldn’t be a secret to anybody that organic products generally cost more and therefore might appear to be too costly for an average person. But manufacturers like Happsy have managed to shrink this barrier, making natural, eco-friendly mattresses not only a worthwhile but also an affordable investment.